Nucleic Acid Aptamer Selection against Fibroblast Growth Factor 8b for Development of Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Cancer

Nucleic Acid Aptamer Selection against Fibroblast Growth Factor 8b for Development of Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Cancer

Katherine Klein

            Cancer is a disease that affects millions of people yet is still not curable and often difficult to diagnose early. Cancer arises when a certain type of gene, called oncogenes, undergoes a mutation and leads to uncontrollable cell growth. One of these oncogenes is the fibroblast growth factor 8b, or fgf8b. Mutation or overexpression of the fgf8b gene can often be found in cancer, in particular hormone-related cancers such as prostate cancer. An aptamer for fgf8b could have many possible benefits as a diagnostic tool and potentially even a therapeutic drug.
            The fibroblast growth factor 8b (FGF8b) is an oncogene that is involved in embryogenesis and later in life can be related to uncontrolled cell growth ultimately leading to the development of cancer. (Lui, 2011) Specifically, FGF8b is found to be overexpressed in hormone-related cancers. Such hormone related cancers that can be affected by FGF8b include breast, prostate, endometrial, ovarian, testis, and thyroid cancers.  In embryogenesis, FGF8b has found to mediate embryonic epithetial-mesenchymal transition in addition to playing an important role in gastrulation and early organization of the blastula. (Sato, 2004)
         Discovery of an aptamer for FGF8b could be very beneficial, especially in the realm of diagnostics. Overexpression of FGF8b in a person could suggest that that person has developed cancer or is at a high risk for cancer. (Matilla, 2007) There have been several studies involving expression of FGF8b and prostate cancer. Usually, high levels of FGF8b are associated with a poor prognosis in prostate cancer. (Zhong, 2006). Therefore finding an aptamer for FGF8b could be very beneficial as it can be used as a diagnostic tool to determine levels of FGF8b expression. Risk for certain cancers, such as prostate cancer, could be determined early on, increasing the change of survival from these cancers. In addition, an aptamer against FGF8b has the potential for a therapeutic drug if the aptamer is able to inhibit or “turn off” FGF8b expression, therefore reducing the overgrowth of cancerous cells.     

Figure 1. The basic mechanism of an aptamer. An aptamer containing a marker or drug binds specifically to the target of interest (in this case the target is FGF8b). Figure adapted from NanoTemper Technologies. 


FGF8b is currently available in the lab (purified by Shawn Piasecki).

Provided by: Keatinge-Clay Lab

                        Office: WEL 4.230B
                        Office Phone: (512) 471-2977
                        Lab: WEL 4.234
Target Cost: $0
Cost Per Round: $0. 


Lui, VW, and DM Yau. "FGF8b Oncogene Mediates Proliferation and Invasion of
Epstein-Barr Virus-associated Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Cells: Implication for Viral-mediated FGF8b Upregulation." Oncogene 30.13 (2011): 1518-530. PubMed. Web.

Mattila, M., and P. Harkonen. "Role of Fibroblast Growth Factor 8 in Growth and
Progression of Hormonal Cancer." Cytokine & Growth Factor Reviews 18.3-4 (2007): 257-66. Web.

Sato, Tatsuya, Alexandra L. Joyner, and Harukazu Nakamura. "How Does Fgf Signaling
            from the Isthmic Organizer Induce Midbrain and Cerebellum Development?"
            Development, Growth and Differentiation 46.6 (2004): 487-94. Web.

Zhong, C. "Cooperation between FGF8b Overexpression and PTEN Deficiency in
Prostate Tumorigenesis." Cancer Research 66.4 (2006): 2188-194. Web.

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